Group Riding Warning
I only want to post my experience in hopes that it could help someone make a decision one day about riding in a large group.
Personally, I was told by several people that large group rides are dangerous due to their unorganized nature and the few in the bunch that will always act up and put others in danger. I opted not to take this advice and joined a club of what was supposed to be thirty, then turned to seventy (expected, but never present) and now has numbers of seventy to one hundred thrown around. Sure, the people are great and the bikes are cool. It is not worth it and I found this out after only three rides.
The first ride I was almost taken out from behind while riding in formation. Someone thought he was being cool and shot up from the back, failing to realize that we went single file for corners. I got lucky. I made a plan, before switching my position for a corner I would just check my mirror and signal to be extra careful...
The second ride I brought my ego with me. I had to get in the front for the twisties and had the company of every ego mad aggressive rider in the bunch. They rode side by side (sharing half of one lane even) and right on each other and I was right in mix. The three that were in front of me almost crashed together when a car was on the other side of a blind corner. I have never braked so hard or felt the bikes front end dip like that before. I made another plan, I just would stay in the back and not get competitive next time...
The third ride took us to my favorite road. I couldn't keep my competitive nature in check after all. I got held up by three riders, the one in the front looking in his mirrors nervously. It's a very dangerous road and he was being pushed. Ashamed doesn't even describe how I felt when I found out he was new. I learned this after he crashed right in front of us. He trashed his bike but walked away okay. I decided I had seen enough and I wasn't riding with them again.
Nobody took care of the newbies, nobody ran a beginner group to trail the others, nobody called corners or road hazards using signals. Nobody waited around for this kid when he had to make his way back down the road with a half assed bike and still very shaken up from his crash.
The next ride was yesterday and I did not attend. This ride put three riders down. One was able to walk away with only road rash and a trashed bike. Another suffered a severly broken leg that will require surgery and much rest, I hope he is able to make a full recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the other rider who suffered fatal injuries. I have decided against posting any names or memorial locations as I believe most on this forum are not local.
Please ride with people you know and trust and always ride at your own level. Knowing that most, if not all of this could have been prevented is something very hard to deal with.